DENVER (CBS4)– The City of Denver issued a strict public health order targeting college-aged people on Thursday. A total of 10 active coronavirus outbreaks involve universities located in Denver.
One outbreak is at Regis University, one at Metro State, eight at the University of Denver.
“I don’t know anyone that is having parties right now, I am in a sorority and we’re not doing anything,” Metro State student Morgan Rogers said.
Rogers is a little surprised to hear about the number of COVID-19 cases and why they’re going up.
“Students have to take public health measures seriously, being young doesn’t come with immunity to the virus or the very serious health issues that can result from it,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.
“We’re starting to see this increase again,” Bob McDonald, Denver Department of Public Health and Environment Director explained.
McDonald attributes the rise to students.
“Largely the result of less physical distancing and activities that take on and off college campuses,” he said.
Some of the changes in the health order at colleges located in Denver include:
• Conduct daily health screenings of students, faculty, staff, vendors and all other campus guests. Any individual experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be restricted from accessing any building (other than their place of residence or to seek medical attention), as well as any practice or athletic event.
• Notify DDPHE within 24 hours of all confirmed positive cases involving students, faculty and staff.
• Increase efforts to ensure strict adherence to DDPHE’s Face Covering Order by all students, faculty, staff, vendors and campus guests.
• Require all student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, medical personnel and any other individual attending indoor and outdoor athletic activities to wear face coverings during those activities, including practices and games, except for outdoor athletic activities where participants strictly adhere to the Distancing Requirements in CDPHE PHO 20-35. Student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and medical personnel also must adhere to the same face-covering requirements while traveling to and from all athletic activities with another individual. All visiting teams must adhere to the same face-covering requirements while in Denver.
• If one or more confirmed positive COVID-19 cases are reported for a single athletic team, the institute of higher education must notify DDPHE and suspend all sports programming for that team until further notice, and DDPHE will evaluate the need to impose a quarantine or isolation order on team members.
• Develop and implement a public health order compliance plan by September 30, 2020, that utilizes campus security, campus police and other resources necessary to ensure that students are following existing public health orders, regardless of whether they reside on or off campus.
• Restrict visitor access to all on-campus housing, except for the students who reside there and other essential personnel necessary for the maintenance and operation of the facilities.
• Take any actions available (such as enforcement of student ethics code violations) against any student, faculty or staff member who fails to comply with any public health order or school policy related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, DDPHE recommends that institutes of higher education voluntarily suspend all nonessential in-person extracurricular social activities sponsored or supported by the college or university.
“We’re on campus for band, they’ve been having us social distance but we’re not really able to wear masks when we are doing that [play instruments],” Rogers said.
Rogers hopes band classes will not be impacted further, however; she understands having to adjust.
“If they need to increase the protocols, they need to do what they need to do.”
Schools, and students can be fined up to $999 if they are found to violate the rules.
If these measures are not successful in reducing the spread, DDPHE will consider additional preventive actions, including quarantine and isolation orders, requiring virtual classes, and imposing a Stay at Home Order.